You’ll find no shortage of delicious bites, tasty drinks, and fun activities to keep you busy this month in Pittsburgh, from some Seinfeld-inspired sweet treats to a $1 drink at a national chain.
1. Celebrate Festivus with Cocoa Bake Shop cookies
Get ready for the yearly airing of grievances for Festivus 2017 with these cookies from Cocoa Bake Shop. You’ll find ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us,’ ‘Feats of Strength,’ ‘H&H Bagels’ and other hilarious cookies inspired by classic Seinfeld episode The Strike at Bantha Tea Bar in Garfield all month long.
2. Try Founders CBS at Pork & Beans
Founders CBS is always one of the year’s most eagerly-anticipated brew releases, and Pork & Beans will be tapping their very own keg on Wednesday, December 13 starting at 5:00 p.m. The beer is aged in maple barrels, and has notes of rich maple syrup, roasted coffee, and chocolate. If you want to try it, we suggest getting into Pork & Beans early… this one will be tapped out pretty quickly.
3. Have a south-of-the-border brunch at East End Brewing Company
Mesa has been teaming up with East End Brewing Company for a regular Saturday brunch series, and their next one is coming up on Saturday, December 16. Join them from noon to 4:00 p.m. for a breakfast menu that’s filled with spicy favorites like burritos, chips and salsa, Green Chile fried pies and enchiladas. And to drink? East End Brewing Company has you covered with draft beer, plus ginger ale, root beer, butter beer and nitro coffee.
4. Find the perfect culinary book for everyone on your gift list at City of Asylum
Threadbare Cider hosted a fabulously fun Boozy Book Fair earlier this month, with food + drink author talks and a shopping center from City of Asylum. If you missed it, you can still head to the North Side book shop to pick up a killer gift for anyone on your list. Our picks? Brunch is Hell by Rico Gagliano (he shares an excellent tip about the 9 bottles you need to have in your bar cart for any occasion: gin, dry vermouth, vodka, Campari, bourbon, sweet vermouth, sparkling wine and tequila), The Art of American Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum, Road Soda by Kara Newman, and The Whiskey Rebellion and the Rebirth of Rye, from Wigle’s Mark Meyer and Meredith Meyer Grelli.
5. Take a craft brewery tour
Want to try some of Pittsburgh’s best small-batch breweries in one afternoon? You’ll get your chance at the Guided Wanderer Craft Brewery tours on December 16, December 23, December 30 and January 6. Tickets are $79 per person, and include stops at Couch Brewery, Voodoo Brewery and 11th Hour Brewing, and feature three tastings at each stop, plus transportation to and from the meeting point at Bakery Square. See more on the event page.
6. Place your holiday orders for some of Pittsburgh’s best dishes
A few of our favorite food stops are taking holiday orders right now. Wise County Biscuits is selling frozen biscuits (6 for $16), biscuit chips, pimento cheese, bacon jam, sausage gravy and more online for local pickup. Piebird has all of your dessert needs covered with options like Chocolate Souffle Rolls, Bourbon Pecan pies and Salted Caramel Apple pies ready to order. And, the late, great Thin Man Sandwich Shop is taking orders for their famous Chicken Liver Mousse, available for pickup this week or next at Mon Aimee Chocolate or Wheel & Wedge.
7. Survive the holidays with $1 Long Island Iced Teas from Applebees
Is this the greatest drink there ever was? Of course not. But it’s the dollar-est drink that there is right now, so we’re going to take it. Applebees has announced that for the month of December, all of their Long Island Iced Teas (vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, sweet and sour mix, and a splash of cola) are only $1 each – morning, noon and night. It’s at participating locations only, but every location we could find near Pittsburgh will have them, so go crazy.
8. Warm up with a nice big bowl of soup
It’s definitely soup season, and some of our favorite restaurants are serving seasonal options right now. Legume has a bright and gorgeous carrot soup on the menu now, served with onion relish, smoked chili oil, cilantro and yogurt. Over at brunoise in the Smallman Galley, chef Ryan Peters has creamy and delicious Parsnip Soup on the menu. Merchant Oyster Company is serving up four different kinds of chowder (our favorite is Rhode Island Red), and Café io in Mt. Lebanon’s French Mushroom, with mushrooms and mushroom broth, Parmesan cheese and house-made croutons is the perfect cold-weather lunch. Other stops on our Pittsburgh soup tour? The Matzo Ball Soup at Smallman Street Deli and Kaya’s Conch & Corn Chowder (with a kick of poblano peppers) are must-try this winter.
9. Down a Prairie Bomb! at Bierport
On Saturday, December 9, Bierport in the Strip District is pouring almost every version of Prairie Bomb! (an imperial stout from Tulsa’s Prairie Artisan Ales) you can think of. On the menu: Bomb!, Birthday Bomb!, Christmas Bomb!, Deconstructed Bomb! – Coffee, Deconstructed Bomb! – Chocolate, Deconstructed Bomb! – Chiles, Deconstructed Bomb! – Vanilla, and Pe-Kan, an imperial stout conditioned with pecans and vanilla. Flights of the four Deconstructed Bomb! brews will be available for $17, and all other beers will be available in 5oz and 10 oz pours, and growler fills.
10. Celebrate Christmas with Chinese food and holiday movies
On December 24 and December 25, Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will be open for a holiday celebration, with fun Christmas movies and Chinese food. On Christmas Eve, they’ll be playing White Christmas (6:00 p.m.) and Home Alone (8:30 p.m.). On Christmas Day, the schedule includes those movies, and Christmas Vacation (5:15 p.m.) and Die Hard (7:30 p.m.). They’ll be taking Chinese food and sushi orders at the Row House Cinema concession stand, and ordered food will be delivered to your seat mid-movie. Find out more (and purchase tickets) on their event page.
11. Have a holiday drink or two at Miracle on Market
It’s back… for a limited time! Miracle on Market, the holiday-inspired pop-up bar has set up shop this year inside the Original Oyster House on Market Square. A few things to remember: All of the drinks are $12, and it’s crowded, pretty much all the time. But it’s only around through New Year’s Eve, so if you’ve been thinking about going, get on it.
12. Order a limited edition pint of holiday-flavored Millie’s Homemade ice cream
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a limited edition pint of Millie’s Homemade ice cream this holiday season. The scoop shop has teamed up with Wigle Whiskey and Paul Family Farms for Bourbon Maple Pecan, plus they’re also offering Eggnog, Deb’s Snickerdoodle and Figgy Pudding. Stop in at either their Shadyside or downtown locations to place an order.
Shameless plug alert! We’ve just launched a brand new podcast, and we hope you like it. In our first episode, we talk about just-opened Pittsburgh restaurants, what Pittsburgh food gifts you can send across the country, and some of our favorite holiday dishes. Take a listen, and let us know what you think!